Kitaibelia vitifolia is a large perennial from the former Yugoslavia. This plant won’t steal the garden show but it fills a void in the garden. It is difficult to find 5 foot tall flowering plants that grow in shade. K. vitfolia fits the bill.
K. vitifolia is is also known as Russian hibiscus, cedar cup and Chalice flower. It starts to flower in late summer and continues until frost, producing a few white malva-type flowers in a continuous fashion. It is unaffected by any pests in my garden.
You probably will not find this rare plant in a nursery, but it is readily available as seed. ORG&HPS has it in their seed exchange most years. Seed germinates quickly, and a well grown seedling can flower the first year. Unlike other Malva plants, this one does not seed around.
I grow it at the back of a part-shade boarder and it makes a nice backdrop to other shade loving plants. It looks more like a shrub than a perennial. Some references say it can grow to 10 feet tall, but mine is about 5 feet tall growing under sugar maples. It can take full sun and damp conditions which might allow it to get bigger.
Life Cycle: perennial
Height: 2M (5ft)
Bloom Time: late August to late October
Natural Range: Yugoslavia
Habitat: damp thickets and grasslands
Synonyms: Malope vitifolia
Cultivation of Kitaibelia vitifolia:
Light: full sun to full shade
Soil: very adaptable
Water: damp to dry
USDA Hardiness Zone: 5 – 8
Propagation: division, seeds